Award-winning electrical wholesaler Kew Electrical is continuing its commitment to its staff by supporting them through the latest ‘trade supplies’ apprenticeship.
Three of the company’s staff have embarked on apprenticeships in trade supplies, a topic directly relevant to wholesaling companies that was approved by the government only last year.
The apprentices are Jack Marriott and Tom Jupp from the wholesaler’s Brighton branch and Lewis Overy from Canterbury.
Jack has already completed an apprenticeship at Kew – in warehousing. He completed it a year early and won two awards for his efforts: Best Apprentice of the Year from the Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA), and Apprentice of the Year in the Youth in Action Awards held by the Brighton Argus.
The company has now persuaded Jack, and his two colleagues, to complete the new apprenticeship in ‘trade supplies’. Deputy managing director Nik Mulcahy says: “We convinced Jack to do trade supplies as well because there’s a greater focus on our industry.”
Kew has played its part in the development of the trade supplies apprenticeship. Mulcahy himself sat on the ‘Trailblazer’ group of employers, education bodies and government representatives that created it. He represented Fegime, the buying group of which Kew Electrical is a member.
“Before, the only relevant apprenticeships were warehousing and customer service,” he says, “now we have trade supplies, which is slightly wider in scope than just electrical wholesaling, and covers builders merchants, plumbers merchants, kitchen fitters and so on.
“I think we’ve always embraced apprenticeships, but it’s been difficult when we’ve only had generic subjects to choose from. Anyone joining now will do the trade supplies apprenticeship, because you touch everything – you get a rounded view rather than just being in a warehouse or doing generic customer service.”
An apprenticeship takes at least a year to complete, and the new trade supplies apprenticeship now has end-point assessment – a test, a professional interview and on-the-job observation.
“I think creating training that is more relevant to our industry is a big step forward,” says Mulcahy. “The key, also, is that if we get them in early, they start to learn the Kew culture – we’re definitely ‘growing our own’.
“They learn the philosophies of Kew and the way an independent wholesaler works, making their own decisions quickly, making sure they know what customers want – whether it’s stock from local trade counters or through deliveries. Today, we have 390 staff – we don’t lose many!”
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